Women are often puzzled by men who cheat. At the same time it is a two-way street: men can’t cheat if there is no one to cheat with. If no woman ever bent her moral fiber to accept the advances of a man who she knows is taken, then there would be no opportunity for men to cheat. But putting that fact aside, let’s take a closer look at why men seek out sexual escapades outside of relationships — sometimes even relationships they cherish.
Men can cheat when they get the opportunity to cheat
The torturous fact is that any man who goes to work likely spends more time away from a spouse or significant other than with them. If they end up in situations working closely with other women they find attractive, opportunities may arise that can tempt even the most loving partner. Of course just because there is opportunity doesn’t mean that a man should be compelled to ‘scratch the itch.’ Taking action on opportunity will almost always have to do with adjoining factors. If opportunity were the only key, then there would probably not be a single relationship which did not involve some complexity that eschewed monogamy. Knowing something about the potential triggers where opportunity turns to action could help reduce the tendency to stray.
Unfulfilled sexual needs
Lack of sex at home — either in frequency or longer term abstinence — can certainly drive a man to seek more physical fulfillment elsewhere. The sheer pleasure of sexual encounters is so powerful that animal and human studies have revealed that sex takes precedence over food and concerns for health. As such, the drive for sexual release can become overwhelming in a vacuum. Any opportunity may be instrument of indulgence. A man can easily — if temporarily — justify “well, I’m not getting any at home” as an excuse to seek out pleasure elsewhere. This can be even more of a problem if the frequency of sexual encounters is already relatively high, but the man is simply not satisfied.
Monotony in relationship
There are terms for what amounts to ‘boredom’ in an ongoing relationship such as “the seven year itch.” The idea is that after seven years, a monogamous relationship reaches a point where partners are prone to stray. This may be brought on by simple familiarity and sameness in a couple’s sexual encounters, or even as a sense of adventure, desire for variety, or plain curiosity. If every encounter is done in the missionary position on Saturday night at 10 pm when the kids have gone to bed, it might grow a little stale. If a couple’s communications have disconnected on the subject of sexual encounters and the man has indulged the virtual arsenal of available pornography and would like to try some variations that are not on the menu, the drive to experience ‘a little more’ could push an otherwise steadfast partner to seek variety. It could be that seven years marks the point where not only does a relationship tend to become mundane, but it is also where familiarity is such that introducing something new seems impossible.
Revenge on their primary partner
Of all the horrible reasons to find for disconnecting with a partner for the sake of sexual adventure, anger is likely the worst of these. Whether the aim is to “get back at” a significant other or just feeling distanced because of a temporary flare in tempers, there is nothing so trite and abysmal as acting in anger. However, it happens. The sweeping regret that follows will never be recouped. While it relates more to food than sexuality, the phrase “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.” A man moved to opportunity by anger will dwell on the experience for a lifetime.
In the long run, the cheating man may regret what he has done, find that it is an empty vessel and come to respect their own partner with renewed reverence. However, the healing will likely be painful. Openness with one’s partner, a willingness to explore, invent, compromise and change can deflect some of the inclination to make use of opportunity. Acknowledging vulnerability and understanding your partner may prove to be everything needed to avoid the tarnish of cheating.